Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to self-petition to obtain a green card. VAWA allows certain battered immigrants to self-petition without the abuser's assistance. In order to qualify, an immigrant must have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse during the marriage or be the parent of a child who was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the U.S citizen or LPR spouse.
Same Sex Marriage
Gay and Lesbian Couples Can Now File for a Green Card Petition.
In the ruling, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that denied same-sex married couples federal immigration benefits.
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement following the Windsor decision, vowing to fully implement the requirements and implications of the Court’s decision, "we will work with the Department of Justice and other agencies to review all relevant federal statutes as well as the benefits administered by this agency”. The United States v. Windsor decision enabled United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to start approving green card petitions for members of same-sex couples living in the U.S. or abroad.
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (I-130 Petitions)
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may help a relative become a lawful permanent resident of the United States by obtaining what is often referred to as a "Green Card."
A U.S. Citizen may petition for a spouse, children, parents or brothers and sisters.
A Permanent Resident may petition for a spouse or unmarried children.